Pro-Traditional-Marriage = Pro-Segregation?

If you are on Facebook and have some liberal friends, you’ve probably seen this graphic:

I have some fairly strong opinions on this, so rather than retype them all up, I’ll just present a Facebook conversation I had with one someone I know who posted this:

 

Me:  Is this a joke, or are you serious? Not allowing gays to marry (a concept that was basically unheard of in all of human history until about 30 years ago) is akin to segregation?

All I can say is that you must have a low view of Americans if you think that 30+ states (including some extraordinarily liberal ones like OR and CA) voted for the equivalent of segregation.

 

Friend of poster:  Keep rationalizing your ignorance.
Me:  Keep labeling the other side “ignorant” (or “bigoted” or “homophobic”… whatever suits your fancy that day). Using pejoratives to shut down debate is *always* a sure sign of an open mind 🙂

 

Friend of poster:  Then please enlighten me as to why prohibiting one couple the same rights and protections under the law as another couple based on their sexuality, is not discrimination.

 

Me: I am for civil unions for gays, but also for man-woman marriage. This gives gay couples (who I do feel compassion for) the rights and protections you describe while continuing to send the message to society that for everyone who can do it, man-woman marriage is the ideal. In particular, men and women are very different and therefore bring different assets to child-rearing. When children are adopted, it is very reasonable for society to want them to be placed in a home with a mother and father and the unique strengths that each provide.

 

Friend of poster:  (links to this video)  This dude seems to have turned out ok.  (cliff-notes version of the video:  it depicts an articulate young man singing the praises of his gay parents)

 

Me:  Yep, I agree there are good gay parents out there. There are also excellent children raised by single parents and by orphanages. But all else equal, the ideal is still for children to have a mother and a father.

 

Original poster: I have to ask: What reasons other than religious are there for not allowing homosexuals to be married? Isn’t the big beef that “marriage” is defined by god as one man and one woman? If you’re willing to extend the same rights through “civil unions” as a marriage, why does it matter what it’s called?

The only thing I can see denying the word ‘marriage’ to gay couples is as an attempt elevate hetero couples as somehow superior.

 

 

Me: I think your phrasing is rather biased, but generally speaking, your summary of my position is not too far off.

If marriage is formally redefined from man-woman to any two people, than if an organization wants to, say, have an adoption service, then if they show a preference for opposite sex couples, they can (and will) be sued for discrimination. This is exactly what happened to Catholic Charities, formerly the largest adoption service in Massachusetts, who was run out of town because they wanted to place children with opposite-sex couples first.

I guess I should also add that I see the burden of proof not on me, but on the side of those who want to redefine marriage to something that up until about 30 years ago, even the most progressive among us would have found laughable (every bit as laughable as we today see polygamous or incestuous marriage… indeed, there is far more historical precedent for polygamous marriage than gay marriage).

The history of marriage is varied…. among all the cultures that are out there, we have arranged marriages, polygamous marriages, many, many permutations, but until very recently, all of them, East and West, religious, Enlightment period, whatever… they’ve all had as a basic assumption that inherent in the definition of marriage is the notion of the ying of the male and the yang of the female coming together.  Almost everything else about marriage has changed, but until very recently, that idea of the two opposite sexes uniting was the one constant.

Maybe I am being overly conservative by thinking this way, but it seems to me reasonable for society to take a good, hard look at the consequences of gay marriage before jumping into full acceptance of what truly is, from a historical standpoint, a radical view.

To my mind, the progressive folks’ strongest argument seems to be in regards to not getting the benefits (hospital visits, etc.), and I think that’s a valid concern… but you don’t need to call a relationship “marriage” to gain those rights, so if that’s not good enough, it calls into question if such benefits were truly the issue in the first place.

But going back to the original graphic, one closing thought:  In addition to following gay marriage over the next 40 years, I think it will also be quite interesting to see where the pro-polygamous marriage movement goes… Holland is already granting polygamous civil unions, so you know that one is not too far behind.  And the argument is identical…. these people don’t fit the traditional definition, but they love each other, so shouldn’t that be enough?  And that is the one thing I am certain of: given that the traditional definition of marriage in the West is “one man and one woman”, once you change the “man”/”woman” part, there is no logical reason why you wouldn’t also change the “one” part.

Comments

  1. jimspice says:

    “… they’ve all had as a basic assumption that inherent in the definition of marriage is the notion of the ying of the male and the yang of the female coming together.”

    Please see: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/2rites.asp

  2. jimspice says:

    I’m all in favor of polygamy as long as it’s truly consensual. Good luck finding cheap health insurance though.

  3. jimspice says:

    “But going back to the original graphic…”

    Yes, shall we? You drew the comparison, so allow me to translate your thoughts.

    “I am for civil unions for [inter-racial couples], but also for [same-race] marriage. This gives [inter-racial] couples (who I do feel compassion for) the rights and protections you describe while continuing to send the message to society that for everyone who can do it, [same-race] marriage is the ideal. In particular, [same-race] men and women are very [similar] and therefore bring [common] assets to child-rearing. When children are adopted, it is very reasonable for society to want them to be placed in a home with a [same-race] mother and father and the [common] strengths that [they] provide.”

    “Yep, I agree there are good [inter-racial] parents out there. There are also excellent children raised by single parents and by orphanages. But all else equal, the ideal is still for children to have a [same-race] mother and a father.”

    “If marriage is formally redefined from [same race] to any two [races], than if an organization wants to, say, have an adoption service, then if they show a preference for [same-race] couples, they can (and will) be sued for discrimination. This is exactly what happened to Catholic Charities, formerly the largest adoption service in Massachusetts, who was run out of town because they wanted to place children with [same-race] couples first.”

    “To my mind, the progressive folks’ strongest argument seems to be in regards to not getting the benefits (hospital visits, etc.), and I think that’s a valid concern… but you don’t need to call a[n inter-racial] relationship “marriage” to gain those rights, so if that’s not good enough, it calls into question if such benefits were truly the issue in the first place.”

    Call me close minded, but I would call anyone who said such things a bigot.

  4. jimspice says:

    I also MIGHT consider legalizing intra-family marriage as long as it were TRULY consensual and one or both individuals would agree to sterilization.

  5. Randy in Richmond says:

    Arguing that same-sex marriage is a right has no merit based on the present definition of marriage. Since marriage is defined generally as the following:

    “the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife “

    Using the definition of marriage as accepted for thousands of years gays and lesbians have the same rights as heterosexuals. What those supporting the poster’s ideology want to do is change the definition of marriage. That would mean that marrying animals, polygamous marriages, gay marriages, marrying a tree, etc. do not fulfill the present definition of marriage.
    Within this basic definition societies, tribes, religions, courts, legislatures, etc. have placed (enacted) limitations and caveats without changing the basic tenants of the definition.

    jimspice, your inter-racial example falls into the limitation category that will continue to evolve as it has for centuries and does not apply unless we redefine the very thing we are talking about. Of course if we change the definition the discussion changes. Same for polygamous marriage, marrying within families, marrying under certain ages, etc. These are simply tweaks that do not change the definition of what we are talking about. These tweaks will change as societies and governments evolve or devolve, depending on one’s point of view. But one man, one woman stays the same unless we totally change the meaning of the definition. This is consistant with Cindy’s and Ryan’s allowing civil union’s for any two whatevers as long as society will accept it. This is a tweak.

    I reiterate. Gays and lesbians have every right that I, a heterosexual, have under our definition of marriage. So do polygamists and one wanting to marry a horse. So do priests, nuns, and the Pope. To try and equate this issue with the civil rights struggle is ludicrous and an affront to those involved in that struggle.

  6. All I know is that I’m shirking my Thursday post today to let you all fight it out. 🙂 Thanks Ryan for the piece.

  7. jimspice says:

    Yep. You keep telling yourself that. You’re on the wrong side of history, and your great grand-children will be embarrassed by the words you’ve committed to posterity.

  8. The Lorax says:

    jimspice is right – you’ll lose this battle.

  9. J. Strupp says:

    +1

  10. Randy in Richmond says:

    As I read history, the civilizations that took ‘your side’ on this issue, among others, are no longer with us.

    But after the discussion on Econ 101 where some of you on the left had differing opinions, it’s good to see y’all now on the same page. 🙂

  11. I’m in agreement with Lorax and Jimspice here. In 40 years, people will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about same-sex marriage.

    My own view is that government should get out of the marriage business and just recognize civil unions. In a legal sense, marriage is just a special form of contract. The tax code should be reformed so as not to create a “marriage penalty” or “marriage benefit.” Just have individuals prepare individual returns the way they do in other countries.

  12. Uhem. I believe I mentioned the idea of civil unions issue by the government the other day. It’s always nice to agree on something KPOM.

  13. Yes, I noticed that post, and I think it’s a decent solution. Illinois has civil unions, which, at least theoretically are open to opposite-sex couples as well as same-sex couples.

    For whatever reason, “marriage” has religious connotations, even in the legal sense, and so people seem to have less objection to same-sex civil union than they do to same-sex “marriage.” Perhaps by eliminating the concept we can restrict the law to its fundamental purpose.

  14. There’s a significant problem with declaring things inevitable…. sometimes they aren’t: http://sovietposters.ru/pages/027.htm

  15. @Ryan, public attitudes are changing, rightfully so, IMO. Whether 2 same-sex people decide to share a life together is none of my business. More power to them, as far as I’m concerned. I think more people are recognizing that.

  16. I have no problem with that. It’s happened for hundreds of years. But, I have a problem with appropriating the term marriage for any arrangement. I think the word is to be kept unique.

    Set up all the neutral tax situations, set up all the understandings of end of life decisions, and sharing the cat if separated, and pre-nups as to who does the dishes and who takes out the trash.

    Just let marriage be a term to identify the bonding of one man and one woman.

  17. From your post on this a couple days ago, I thought we were a bit apart, Cindy, but I am in 100% agreement with your post above.

  18. The Lorax says:

    For all that conservatives complain about political correctness and liberals being obsessed with words, you guys sure do have this odd sentimental attachment to the word marriage.

  19. J. Strupp says:

    Way to link to a poster of Lenin, Ryan! It doesn’t qualify for Godwin’s Law but it should.

  20. jimspice says:

    By the way, my wife and I really were married by a person licensed out of the back of Rolling Stone for the purpose of our wedding. She’s gone on to marry other people. We named our daughter after her and she continues to be an anchor of our social circle. Are you upset that we’ve made a mockery of your institution?

  21. Randy in Richmond says:

    No jimspice, I could care less what you do unless it affects me or others. But you give yourself too much credit because those of us of faith would not expect an atheist to partake in our traditions–so there is no mockery.

  22. Buc Weet says:

    I believe I fall in with Randy from Richmond.

    While it may be true that forty years hence, gay marriage will seem commonplace, yet another group will be adamantly stumping for man-goat espousal just because they are so driven.

    We’ve already all but neutered our Constitution, one clause after another. If now we also dismantle our social system, one more at a time, at what point will we cease to exist socially?

    And then what?

  23. Same-sex marriage isn’t going to make or break this country. That said, it’s actually healthier to recognize same-sex unions than not to. A certain, rather substantial percentage of the population will be homosexual. It’s true in nature and has always been true in every society. I think the opposition to same-sex marriage is mostly religious in nature.

    Quite frankly, we need something far more stable than religion to bind us as a society. Our framers came from an age of enlightenment. They bequeathed to us a system based on reason, and a common value system of individual rights and personal responsibility. Recognizing same-sex marriage is not incompatible with that value system. Our Constitution doesn’t invoke any deity or even mention religion except to limit the government’s involvement or interference with it.

  24. Randy in Richmond says:

    KPOM
    What the heck does “a certain, rather substantial percentage of the population will be homosexual” mean? When is “will be” going to occur? Is there going to be an increase in the number and what is going to precipitate that increase? How much is “substantial.” Just making politically correct statements means nothing. Please provide a link showing how and when this “substantial percentage” will occur.

    It’s also true in nature that animals eat their young, hibernate, travel thousands of miles to mate, fly, live under water, … I could go on. Those of us of faith believe God gave us dominion over the animals and set us apart from them. Simply put, we’re different.

    It’s also true that most every civilization has/had some sort of religion and deity. I agree that opposition to same-sex marriage is “mostly religious in nature.” A recent Pew poll shows that 84% of Americans are affiliated with some religion and about 4% are atheist or agnostic. So being “religious in nature” is not necessarily a negative as you imply.

    I’ve already noted in another post that homosexuals have the same rights as I or anyone else to get married. Look up the definition or use the legal meaning in 42 states as well as the Federal Government, of marriage. Some jurisdictions have granted the additional right of same-sex marriage.

    Since you allude to our enlightened founders and that homosexuality has always been in every society, including theirs, why did they not grant same-sex marrige as a right like they did many other issues in our Constitution (including the Amendments) ?

    And me, I really don’t want a bound society. Neither did our founders.

  25. jimspice says:

    The Bible commands you to kill practicing homosexuals, does it not?

  26. Randy in Richmond says:

    I learned long ago to not fall into the trap of debating individual verses in the Bible, especially with one that believes there is no God.

    Christ’s coming fulfilled the Old Testament of the Bible. That’s why we are Christians.

  27. Of course, people who argue for “Traditional Marriage” are really just arguing for marriage as it was defined in the 1950’s. If you go back several centuries, you’d find “Traditional Marriage” to be very different. In fact, if you want to argue for “Traditional Marriage”, then you should be arguing to outlaw any marriages that are not arranged by parents for familial benefit… because that’s what Traditional Marriage really means.

    Can you imagine the horror that people felt when children started demanding the right to marry the person *they chose*, and refused to marry the person their parents picked for them?!

    As for the idea that “civil unions” are ok, as long as you don’t call it marriage… then I’m assuming you’d be ok with “Straight Bathrooms” and “Gay Bathrooms”… but I personally thought we abandoned “Separate but Equal” a few decades ago.

    What people need to understand is that marriage, in the context that we’re speaking, IS NOT A RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION, and so defining marriage using religion in just this one case, shows that it’s not about religion, but is about the fact that people find gay people icky.

    Atheists can currently go the court house, get married, and have no words about God uttered. People who have different religions backgrounds can do the same, and some times have to, because their churches will refuse to marry them.

    We already have marriage without God, and the world has not fallen apart.

    In the mean time, the word marriage is used in the definition of Federal and State law in literally thousands of places to define benefits and different rights.

    It is absolutely wrong to create a class of people who have access to many societal and legal benefits as we have created, and then write into law that a class of people cannot legally gain access to them. That is a violation of a basic Constitutional concept of Equal Protection Under the Law.

    If you want to make marriage a purely religious institution, fine. Then remove the word marriage from all Federal and State law, and we can talk then.

  28. Oh, crap, Nick. You messed with my Monday.

    I do not find gay “icky” so do make such dramatizations. Yes, remove the word marriage from all federal and state law. Yes, give access of the benefits of union to all people great and small. But darn it, your point on what makes marriage traditional is taken and considered. So is your point about God already being removed from heterosexual marriages. It all does go back to my original point – make civil unions the job of the government and marriage the work of religion.

  29. Cindy, I’d fully agree with EVERYTHING you just said. The problem is, I think you are in the minority among those who oppose gay marriage. The reason I say that is because people have created Constitutional Amendments banning marriage, and any other legal creation that “resembles” marriage, which includes civil unions.

    Why? The reality is… most people want to ban gay marriage AND gay civil unions. Everything else is just a set of red herrings to keep the argument about minutia to distract from those basic facts.

  30. Ok, as long as you recognize I’m not one of whom you describe.

  31. Now you beg the question Cindy… did you vote for the Wisconsin Constitutional Amendment which also bans any legal status similar to marriage?

  32. Randy in Richmond says:

    What is the legal definition of a civil union?

  33. That’s the silly thing Randy. Because if Marriage means something religious to you, then our current system of marriage is not marriage. If it is ordained by God, then how can it be granted by the state?

    Then all marriage certificates currently granted by the state, are in fact civil unions, in which case, there should be no prohibition on allowing gay people to get them.

    From my experience… I signed TWO certificates when I got married. One was for the state, and one was for the church. I would be all for a system where gay couples could get the one from the state, and only churches that wanted to could issue them one from a church.

    But unfortunately in Wisconsin, even that is illegal.

  34. Randy in Richmond says:

    I certainly don’t want to put words in anyone’s fingers but if I read the mood of these comments most are supporting civil unions — not same-sex marriage. My comments have mostly been aimed at and triggered by what President Obama said–not by the predominant view here. The President distinctly said he favored “same-sex marriage.”

    As I consider this I am puzzled. On this site and others I have read, the sentiment for civil unions is pretty high and very few favor or advocate same-sex marriage. And that sentiment covers the political spectrum as well as the religious and gender spectrums also. Very few support the President’s statement and I find it odd that he or his advisors didn’t see this coming. He essentially could have politically given many a little piece of the pie and made less waves at the same time by just advocating for civil unions.

    Does his campaign know something I (we) do not? Is there a political angle to his statement I’m missing? Or did his advisors and he just screw up? My inclination is his campaign miscalculated on this one.